In the near future, the western world braces for all out war with superpower China. Vincent, a computer programmer works for the British government, hoping to design a new form of artificial intelligence. He brings in Ava, who has just developed a highly intelligent, self-aware program designed to help humanity, though the government has other plans. Caradog W. James' The Machine is an impressive science fiction film that by-and-large manages to deliver a unique spin on the man vs. machine subgenre. This film is very impressive from a visual standpoint, with great use of expressionistic lighting that only enhances the futuristic world the film is trying to create. Furthermore, the visual effects and production design are incredibly well-done, especially considering the budget. This film looks nearly as good as hollywood films that cost 10 times as much, blending use of CGI and practical effects extremely well. One of my favorite aspects of The Machine is that it doesn't take the simple, "we can't trust machines"approach that has been overdone for years, instead the film argues that just like a human being, the machine can be psychologically manipulated into homicidal tendencies. The film takes the more daring approach with a conscious machine, questioning at times who the real monsters are. The film does fall into some tropes of the genre, like an incredibly stereotypical villian whose war-mongering, bottom-dollar psyche has been seen countless times before. While The Machine is not a perfect film by any means, it's an impressive calling card for a young filmmaker that succeeds on delivering both style and substance.
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